Monday, November 08, 2004:

Desmond Dekker

Desmond Dekker -- Israelites
Desmond Dekker -- Sabotage (now with working links!)
Thought I'd post some Desmond Dekker because I bought one of his discs recently and I've been listening to it all day. I heard Dekker first on Tried and True Attention-Getting Tactics, which the author has since abandoned to join the group blog at Weapon-Shaped.

The track I first heard was "Israelites" and, based on the strength of that one, I decided to get the disc; the disc I got is one of the (several) Trojan Desmond Dekker best-of comps. It's great work, though I wish it had been a bit longer. At 25 tracks, it still feels a bit short; I'm eager for more.

Dekker got his start in the mid-1960s and still tours, especially in Europe. Tracks on this disc range from ska to rocksteady to reggae; says he often remade tracks along the way. On all these tracks on the disc there's a strong sense of melody and harmony. He's a solid singer and his band is good too: the horns, the piano, the bass all know what to do and when to do it. It's not gaudy work, but it's solid.

"The Israelites" is about living hard and working for little return; the song is famous as the first Jamaican song to make it big internationally. It was a hit in both the U.K. and the U.S.

"Sabotage" is a mildly paranoid plea for an end to the attempts to sabotage the singer's life. I'm not sure why I like the song so much, except for maybe the tempo and the melody: it's so damned cheerful about it all. It sounds downright pleasant to beg people to quit trying to get one over.


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